Adult diapers are, simply, diapers made to be worn by adults. Adult diapers may become necessary due to a variety of medical conditions including incontinence, mobility impairment, and dementia. Medical professionals are trained to call adult diapers "briefs" in order to spare the dignity of those who use adult diapers. But privately, almost all doctors, nurses, and caregivers call adult diapers what they are.
Truly, adult diapers are a fact of life for millions of people, young and old. They're no more undignified than dentures or hearing aids.
Like children's diapers, adult diapers come in many forms. There are "drip collectors," small discreet pads no more noticeable than women's menstrual pads; these are worn by people with mild bladder control dysfunctions.
In fact, the vast majority of adult diapers purchased are quite small and of low absorbency. A significant percentage of adult diapers are purchased by medical facilities for use on bedridden patients. Health regulations require staff to change patients' adult diapers every two hours or less. Therefore, it makes no economic sense for hospitals to buy larger, more expensive diapers that would be worn longer.
"Full cover" adult diapers are worn by people who have bowel as well as bladder control issues, and by the demented who may not recognize the urge to go to the bathroom. Full cover adult diapers come in a complete range of sizes, and styles are available to fit men and women of all ages and body types.
Most adult diapers are disposable and come with a plastic outer cover that helps prevent leaks. Adult diapers usually fasten with paper adhesive tape, although some adult diapers have Velcro tabs or plastic snaps.
Fetishists add unnecessary variety to adult diapers. Diaper fetishists wear diapers for perverse sexual titillation, which is sometimes tied to an infantile desire to return to a state of dependency. Other fetishists get their thrills from the physical sensation of soiling and wearing soiled diapers. Adult diapers are used in some bondage/discipline role-playing games; the dominant partner plays the "parent" and the submissive one plays the passive, helpless "infant." A "bad baby" may be punished for soiling his or her adult diaper.
Adult diapers are commonly stocked on the shelves of supermarkets and drug stores. However, many users of adult diapers prefer to order supplies by mail, having them delivered in discreet "plain brown wrappers."